This live, online visual arts course is suited for high school students in grades 9-12 from all art backgrounds. It is a semester-long course and the first in a series of formal drawing classes for students who are serious about improving/refining basic drawing skills. It counts as a half high school credit for Visual Arts/Fine Arts. This course combined with Drawing 2 completes a full high school credit in Visual Arts/Fine Arts.
Learning to draw is often referred to as the process of “learning to see”, with one of the main goals being to refine observation skills just as much as sharpening skills with a pencil. This studio arts course is a one semester elective offered to students who have a desire to learn how to see the world with wonder, training both their eyes and hands through basic observation and realistic drawing skills. Drawing 1 provides students with drawing and design skills as well as techniques and focuses on learning the fundamental skills of drawing from reality, as the essential artistic skill for all art genres. The course is highly recommended for students who plan to take advanced studio art classes, other art electives, and those who plan to pursue any visual art pathway.
During class, students will draw along with the Instructor to create their images. Measuring with a ruler, estimating size, and visualizing proportional relationships are necessary skills that will be built on in this sequential, traditional course of study, with subjects based around students’ interests. Weekly sketchbook assignments are an important part of the course and independent practice and application of learned skills are recommended for success. Because of the amount of intense focus required for drawing in class, as well as practice work outside of class (estimated 1-2 hours/week max), this class is suggested for students who enjoy drawing and are willing to work on getting better and better at it.
Our virtual class time will involve project sharing in a gallery format, brief interactive lecture and discussion with review and new learning of concepts, artworks, artists, and art history. It also includes demonstration and class experimentation with various techniques and drawing warm-up, and concludes with guided instruction and demonstration through the various stages of each artwork. During most classes, students will draw along with the Instructor to try out the processes they’ll be using to complete their work, with many projects taking several weeks. Students will also have weekly homework outside of class taking from 1-3 hours each week to complete exercises introduced in each class and to develop creative projects. Activities will be individualized, dependent upon each student’s ability level and artistic goals.
This course seeks to achieve the following goals, with each student able to demonstrate the following:
- Understanding a variety of media and drawing surfaces
- The ability to draw from observation
- The ability to use line as the principal conveyor of form: Two-dimensional drawing skills – contour, gesture, sketching
- The ability to use line to represent volume and space: Three-dimensional drawing skills – mass (volume) drawing, cross-hatching, linear, stippling, spot line drawing, pattern
- The ability to use linear perspective in the creation of volume and space
- The creation of Form (composition) through the application of the elements of design – line, shape, value, and texture
- Awareness of the principles of visual form: space, balance, harmony, rhythm, figure/ground, movement, and more.
- Understanding appropriate drawing surfaces
- Understanding basic drawing and design vocabulary and techniques
- An awareness of careers in which drawing/design are fundamental
- An appreciation of drawing and design as related to traditional and contemporary periods of art
- An awareness of critique skills related to drawing and design compositions
- Disciplined work habits
My teaching style is lighthearted, relational, and tailored to each group of students in my class. I keep my class atmosphere positive and encouraging – a place where all feel welcome and valued, with a focus on the joy and wonder of creating and creation, and where all artworks discussed will be kept rated PG and family-friendly. Feedback to all students will be done in positivity, kindness, and encouragement with a focus on the art concepts being studied over talent or skill level.
After this course is completed, there will be an intermediate/advanced level Drawing 2 class that will be offered at the same day/time during the week in the second semester. This is the next level class where students will put their newfound knowledge to use in more challenging and complex, realistic, as well as imaginative drawings, as well as experiment with color.
Live meetings via Zoom are held every week on Wednesdays at 3 PM ET. All course meetings are optional, though attendance is highly encouraged for direct instruction, personal artistic guidance, class community, and to ensure understanding. Meetings are recorded for scheduling convenience. Students who are unable to attend live lectures will still be able to participate with peers through our weekly short-form written group discussions on the course website in Canvas. This course emphasizes that art is for all and values the heart of homeschooling where flexibility is a top priority.
Weekly assignments may include:
- A weekly 75-minute live meeting
- Interactive discussion of concepts, artworks, artists, and art history in our Canvas Discussion forum
- Art journal/sketchbook prompts
- Preliminary sketches
- In class practice of skills being learned and mastered
- Final projects (emphasis on demonstrating learning)
- Student involvement in learning process
- Use of elements and principles of design related to composition
- Mastering of techniques of media and use of tools
Who should enroll?
Students in 9th-12th grade should enroll in this class. Beginning drawing skills are recommended but not required.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and working microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
- Digital camera (can be phone with camera), or other means to photograph, scan, and upload student artwork
Evaluation and Feedback
All in-class projects will be submitted at each stage and formally critiqued through our website on Canvas. I will provide detailed critiques on all artwork at each stage of our projects, focusing on understanding and demonstration of the concept versus artistic skill/natural talent with the goal being to improve skills at the individual level. Students will submit a progress photo of their drawings after each class and I will provide video or written individualized feedback on their drawings with guidance and encouragement to challenge their skills.
I provide each student’s critiques well before the next live art class so that they may steadily develop and grow in their artistic abilities while improving their work and developing their own artistic style with each assignment. Students will also submit weekly sketchbook assignments for feedback as well.
All in-class projects will be given a grade for completion, as well as rubric feedback on the following:
- Perception and accuracy
- Development of skills in seeing and thinking
- Professional presentation and craftsmanship
- Participation in critiques and discussions
- General attitude and effort in the classroom
I will confirm registration with parents and provide a welcome email with clear details and video instructions on how to navigate this course. All parents are welcome to join us in Canvas as observers, and I will respond to all parents’ and student questions via email within 24 hours during the week, and within 48 hours on the weekend. I prefer communication through Canvas on our course website.